Definition of superstition

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The definition of superstition

Letter received

My response

Mankind used to believe in God ... Like men believed the earth was flat and lead could be changed to gold. It's strange that you would consider abandoning the evolution theory, and go back to the superstitious belief in some god.

Because it's true that you're not proposing an evolution of truth, but rather promoting a return to old myths. The belief in gods has been around since the beginning of human history. The idea of evolution is much younger and is by no doubt an evolution of truth. It doesn't mean it must be perfect right now.  It still needs some time so that more and more proofs are gathered to make it completely logical. 

By the way, what you're trying to pull here is the explanation of God by the argument of design. Which does not hold the track because: God must be infinitely complex and subtle and therefore must have been created since nothing complex can exists if it has not been created according to this argument.  (He certainly did not evolve.)

I’m not promoting a return to old myths.  I’m just trying to challenge people to get outside their preconceptions and belief systems in order to open their minds to exploring all the possibilities. 

You say that evolution is younger than mankind’s belief in God, and therefore closer to the truth, but the truth is that atheism, in its various forms, has been with us just as long.  Psalms 14:1, written over 2,500 years ago, observes “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."   Even then there were those who denied the existence of God.  The existence of God is not determined by scientific or technology, in the past, present or future.  It is experienced by looking deep into your own soul.  Our understandings of God are a reflection of our understandings of ourselves.

You note that my evidences of design cannot prove God’s existence because by my own logic God Himself, being more complex yet, must then also have been created.  That’s a very good point, but if you believe instead that mankind came into being from nothing, you in turn should have absolutely no problem believing that a far greater intelligence yet (e.g., God) would also have come into being from nothing by now.  All this shows is that logic cannot prove, or disprove, the existence of God.  It's an answer that must be sought at a different level of our existence.

You see my beliefs as being superstition, but I ask that you take a deep and honest look at the nature of your own beliefs.  Superstition is “any belief, practice, or rite unreasonably upheld by faith in magic, chance or dogma,” and dogma is “a principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one formally or authoritatively considered to be absolute truth.” 

If your believe that life originated without a Creator, then aren’t you holding to a belief based on extreme chance, on the astronomical odds that chance chemical reactions led to the ultimate creation of intelligent beings?  Isn’t evolution a belief that you consider to be an authoritative and absolute truth, even though you cannot prove that it explains the origins of life?  You even acknowledge in your letter that it is not completely logical, but then assume by faith that this shortcoming will someday be resolved.  Are your beliefs are based purely in the disciplines of the scientific method or are they also based on preconceptions of what you expect, and want, the answers to be?

Science is a wonderful tool, but in the field of evolution it has been extrapolated by some beyond evidence and reason to support world views that are really just atheism masquerading as science.  Among atheists, evolution as an explanation for life itself has thus become their own superstition and dogma, beliefs upheld not purely by evidence and reason, but grounded in preconceptions about God that have significant influence upon the way they see and interpret the world around them.  While atheists may not like the implications, is there anything inherently illogical in the possibility that life on Earth could have been created by an external force?

The fact that the evidence is incomplete and at times even contradictory, and that intelligent people hold different beliefs about evolution and God, should be evidence in itself that there is more for all of us to learn.  By offering examples of design and issues with evolution as an explanation for life's origin, it is my hope to challenge people to get outside their limited learnings and preconceptions and to seek deeper answers on life, for that is how we gain the knowledge and evidence needed to know the presence and reality of God.  True science demands that we explore the alternatives before coming to conclusions, does it not?  Should you be interested, parts of my own pursuit are recorded at a site called "Snapshots of God."  Let me know if I can answer any questions.

Best regards,


Letter received

My response

Hi Gary, 

Thanks for your response. Here is my reply to that:

First, I have not said that evolution is closer to the truth. I said it was an evolution of truth and there is probably room for improvement. I also said that believing in a creator is a step back. 

But why should evidence for evolution be evidence against a creator?  Our creative process involves evolution.  How do you logically get from observing change and adaptation in living organisms to a conclusion that a Creator would not or could not exist? 

You seem to confuse the theory of evolution with atheism. This is not the case since many theists believe that evolution is the way God created everything. And yes, atheists exists since a long time, but I do not think they all used the theory of evolution to argument that there is no god. 

I know the difference and agree that among evolutionists there are both theists and atheists.  The problem is that atheists have no choice but to use evolution as their explanation for the origin of life, even though evolution is just a change in living organisms and does not explain the spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter, which has never been observed and was shown by Pasteur to be false over 100 years ago.  Atheism is religion, not science, but its advocates sometimes present science incorrectly to give an air of intellectual superiority in justifying their positions.

You point out that since I believe mankind came into existence out of nothing, I should have no problem believing God came out of nothing. Yes, a god might come out of nothing, by evolution, but it would be more complex and therefore need more time to come into existence.  Mankind, compared to the universe, is quite young. From that point of view, God does not exist yet and even more surely did not created us. And if you have no problem believing in an ever-existing God (I know you have not said that, but it's kind of implied) you should not have any problem believing in an ever-existing universe. 

I don’t see how you can come to any conclusions about God based on the progress of only one intelligent species (human beings) on only one planet in the entire universe.  For all we know, God exists outside the physical universe as we know it and existed before it came into being.  There is no basis in reason to  draw conclusions about all that may exist based on our very limited experiences as a species.

You ask me to take a deep an honest look at my own beliefs. Well, I did that already on many occasions. I have read about many theories and learned about a lot of scientific facts. I do not believe every one of them like: relativity, the model of the atom and the nature of light for example. I would be ready to challenge them any time and research for alternatives if I had the time to get involved in such things. I also took the time to read about the Bible, as well as the Bible itself.  I learned about Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism as well as Christianity. I have even been a practicing Christian. Now, I don't accept anything as true or false until I can judge it by myself. And even when I accept something as true, there is still room for change. 

I am sincerely glad that you have studied both science and religion and have a mind that is open to change.  That is important for any of us to be able to grow.  I will say though that coming to faith in God is not just a matter of studying or reasoning, but one of experiencing.  I’m not saying you haven’t tried to experience God’s presence and I can’t explain why some people experience it and others do not, although pride can certainly be a barrier.

You accuse me of holding a belief based on "extreme" chance. You accuse me of holding evolution as an absolute truth. Well I don't! I think of it as the most plausible explanation yet. Yes, I have faith that science will discover more and more about the origins of life: I see more and more evidences that our collective intelligence is growing day after day. You ask me if my beliefs are based purely on the scientific method, well I have to  answer: more and more as I let more of my preconceptions behind. I made it a duty never to believe something I haven't reasoned through. 

No accusations were intended, just observations based on what little I had in your first e-mail.  In your first letter and even in this letter you seem pretty certain that God does not exist, leaving not many options other than evolution, along with its remote odds of life having been formed by chance.  It’s good that you are applying critical thinking to your beliefs, but not all knowledge can be obtained through reason.

I stumbled on your website trying to find information about the "standard" human proportions for my drawings. I say "standard" because we are not all on the same perfect proportions. After reviewing more of this website, I decided to get my information elsewhere because I came to the conclusion that information here was biased. Here is why: 

My views on God are admittedly biased, but the proportions are based solely on math, which you can verify yourself. 

I've read your arguments against evolution. Most of them are easy to refute. 

You only the address the points on one page, which were intended just as observations about natural selection.  You have not addressed any of the real issues about evolution which are presented in another section of the site on The other side of common beliefs.  A key point to keep in mind too is that refuting beliefs side one by one on either isn't as meaningful as stepping back and seeking an understanding of where we really are in our own development as humans, what is in our nature that causes us to have preconceptions, and what others see that we do not.

You wrote: "you might expect: A single type of life, if the probabilities of life forming are low." 

Well there is a "if" in this statement. More and more evidence let us think that life is not so unusual. The laws of physics and chemistry make it quite easy for elements to  assemble in the compounds of life, more easy than thought at first. You go on saying that complementary life forms are what we find instead. Which is quite natural, otherwise a single life form without counter balance would not have survived. One of the keys of evolution is the use of an unused resource and the specialization in the use of that resource. 

I would really love to see any real evidence you have to back up your statement that “laws of physics and chemistry make it quite easy for elements to assemble in the compounds of life.”  Our best attempts at creating the “compounds of life” produce mostly tar and a few very basic amino acids, which is no more like life than a few pieces of rock are like the pyramids of Egypt.  Please see my page on Genes. 

You wrote: "you might expect: asexual reproduction" 

Well asexual reproduction is still occurring today, even within our own body.  Our cells are dividing without the need for sexuality. The reproduction system of fishes are nothing like ours and do not require them to "mate". They represent an intermediary step to sexuality as we humans know it. It is possible to imagine a species of fish that could clone itself as well as externally "mate" as many vegetables do. Also, bisexual species still exist today in both the animal and vegetable world. 

These are valid observations.  While it is possible, evolution also relies on survival of the fittest, which to me would have made it more difficult for bisexual organisms to compete and survive as such precise conditions are required for their successful reproduction.  I offer this as an observation, not a proof. 

You wrote (kind of): "you might expect life based on both left-handed and right handed amino acids..." 

And you give the answer right next: "For little known reasons..." which means that some day, researchers will find an answer to that.  I think it is biased to say that: if there is no explication, then it must be God.  Actually, this is what happened in the early age of man kind: they explained the unexplainable, like a solar eclipse, by the existence of a god. 

That researchers will someday find a logical answer is purely an assumption on your part that reflects just as much bias as my viewpoint.  We both hold views that are based on reason and both reflect our underlying experiences, beliefs, biases and  preconceptions.  That is a critical point for anyone exploring this issue to realize.  It is not just a simple matter of reason or evidence.  Our underlying beliefs influence how we apply reason, how we see the evidence, and how we come to our conclusions.  If it is wrong to assume without proof that God is a cause, then it is just as wrong to assume without proof that God is not a cause.  We have to be open to all the possibilities. 

You wrote: "you might expect: Highly specialized behaviors and complex physical adaptations evolving only once." 

This is just a gratuitous affirmation.  There is no reason that what works best for a species cannot work, simultaneously, for another.  You take for example the flight patterns of birds and bats, but forget about the flying squirrels, the intermediary step. You also do not mention that fishes have a sideways swimming stroke and sea mammals have an up-down swimming stroke.  Although the two strokes are similar, they can clearly come from two different paths of evolution. 

I agree that there’s no reason that an adaptation cannot work in more than one circumstance.  Still, one would expect that the more complex adaptations would take more time to evolve, so seeing them appear repeatedly is not necessarily what one would expect, particularly when some creatures that rely entirely on a particular adaptation to survive (say sonar in bats and dolphins) could not have survived with it being anything less than perfect in its development and function.

You wrote: "you might expect: Mutations adding genetic information, creating new and advantageous characteristics." Implying it is false. 

Well, this happened to the potato in the 1700 or 1800: it evolved an antibiotic against a virus that was attacking its roots for decades making it incomestible.  Of course, more "radical mutations" are bad than good, there is more ways to go wrong than right. You show there the photo of a frog with a missing leg. I don't think that a 5th would have been better either. I think also that human characteristics are mutating slowly: like height, endurance to sunlight or pollution.  There is also a supporting theory to evolution that our DNA is programmed by the changes a single being is doing, like the increased use of our brain makes the brain of our child more adaptable to technologies than we were. 

Again the point is not that it never happens, but that if all the complexity and diversity of life is based on mutations then one would expect to see far more favorable adaptations happening now than we presently observe.  We should see good, solid examples happening all the time and not have to rely on an examples of potatoes from 300 years ago.

You wrote: "you might expect: Many plants and animals in various "incomplete" or transitional states of evolution." 

Just take a look at us: we have a useless muscle attached at both ends to the same bone in the leg, we have among us a varying number of lower vertebrae, and we are still adapting to our standing stance. This is why we have so many backaches and problems with our knees. Studies of mummies seem to indicate that these problems were even more pronounced 4000 years ago.  We also have these "wisdom teeth" that bother so many adults because they don't have enough room to grow in the jaw.  Well how about that perfect human creation? 

Past history has shown that many things that we consider “useless,” the appendix for instance, reflect a lack of human understanding more than a lack of purpose.  You’ve provided some good illustrations of imperfections in humans, but these would not keep us from surviving.  Also in looking at our imperfections, we have to separate the issues of aging and improper care from bad design.  The point was that there’s a long path of evolution from say a leg to a wing, and during that path it would seem that the appendage wouldn’t be much good as either, which could be a disadvantage, which raises the question of how the evolving animal competed to survive. 

You wrote: "you might expect: Non-living matter organizing into higher states of energy and complexity." 

Well actually this happens quite a lot. In the stars! Stars are the generators of complex materials. They are making out of simple hydrogen a more complex element: iron! Yes, stars make iron by sequentially fusing the matter they're made of.  They explode in super novas when they "attempt" to fuse their iron, thus projecting through the universe the "evolved" elements which are more complex arrangements of protons and electrons. So when you say that "what we find instead is: Non-living matter settling into lower states of energy and more randomness" is COMPLETELY FALSE! 

Since increased randomness or entropy and dispersion of energy embodied in the second law of thermodynamics, this cannot be completely false.  You talk of stars “attempting” to create other elements as if they’re alive with purpose.  As I see it, they’re just responding to the laws of gravity and nuclear forces.  This is entirely different than the types of structures we see in living organisms.  Snowflakes are complex structures, but they develop just on the properties of water as it crystallizes.  We don’t see examples in non-living material of complex systems developing beyond the basic gravitational or nuclear forces, yet we do in living organisms, so how did living organisms come into being in the first place?

Just looking at all the golden number relations you are throwing was enough to make me doubt about the complete veracity of these facts. Numbers are quite easy to manipulate... 

And also quite easy to verify.  It is human nature, however, to reject material we find in conflict with our beliefs.  I do the same thing, but it doesn't lead us closer to the truth.

If you read Greek mythologies, you will without a doubt classify it as just a bunch of old myths. You will do the same with the Vedas, the sacred books of Hinduism. You will find in these stories nothing but fantasies trying to explain what people were experiencing at the time to the best of their limited knowledge. If you learn about Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, you will certainly come to the conclusion that his claims to the truth are completely unfounded and probably will be shocked to realize that many people are following this movement. 

Similarly, I suspect that mankind will look back on our science of the 20th century and see that many of the explanations we had for life were also nothing but fantasies that were at the time the best of our limited knowledge.  Do you think that people of 2000 years ago were any less sure of their explanations than we are of our today?  That’s one of the main points of my site – to get people to see that we have to be either naïve or arrogant to assume that we’ve really explained the origins of life and can thus make conclusions about God based on this “knowledge.”  There is still so much to learn and we need to look at things from a much greater perspective to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

I can't disprove the existence of God. I can't go everywhere in the universe to confirm that He is nowhere to be found. But what I can do is realise that I do not see Him around here nor do I see His actions. 

I don’t think you need to leave Earth to see evidence of God.  You say you do not see His actions, yet if we look back through history we see countless people whose lives have been changed by a force that they can only explain by the existence and presence of God, including mine.  We also live in a universe that we really cannot yet explain as completely “natural” and even if our beliefs lead us to that conclusion, we should still be asking how it happened that a universe appeared from nothing that is so finely tuned to the formation of life; and not just life, but intelligent life that is drawn to seek God, even in this age of naturalism, humanism and technology.  I know you are sincere in your beliefs and have obviously put much time and thought into this pursuit.  You’ve studied science and all the major religions and that is good.  Still it leaves me with the impression of someone who says they have studied many books on love, but has never been in love and therefore must conclude that love does not exist, when people all around the world testify to its existence and the impact it has had on their lives.  I pray that God will someday touch your life in a way that will let you know that there is no other possibility for what you have experienced that to know by reason and faith that He exists.

I assume you will be replying to this. If you do, I will read it. But I will not reply to it. Otherwise, we'll be arguing for the rest of our lives.  I'm grateful you posted my letter on your site.  I can only hope that this exchange of ideas will help others to make their own decisions. Thus it gives me a chance to make a difference.  Thanks to you.

Yes, sometimes our life experiences and views are so different that we have to agree to disagree, but hopefully the exchange helps us to grow, and, by sharing it, helps others to grow as well.  Thank you very much for your thoughts and contributions.

In this case, it was far easier to record my responses within the body of the sender's letter, which are shown in blue italic print.


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